20 Beautiful Mac Apps | Design Reviver

Apple is known for good design and so are many of those who develop applications for the Mac. Designers for Macs know that it’s OK, even better, for an application to be powerful and beautiful at the same time.
20 Beautiful Mac Apps | Design Reviver:

20 Beautiful Mac Apps
Mac OS X is known for housing an amazing graphical user interface. Not only is the operating system beautiful in every way, but a large portion of the applications developed for Macs have great usability along with a stunning “face”. Below you will find 20 Mac Apps With Beautiful User Interface Designs for your inspiration. This is also a great reference for those that are looking to develop their own applications.

(Via Rands, on Twitter.)

Desktop ↔ 01.15.2010

Just because. Here’s my desktop these days…

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 8.44.53 PM

Still a little heavy up in the menubar, but it’s all tools I use. The desktop is completely clear now unless it’s something I’m working on RIGHT NOW. That tab at the bottom right is courtesy of DEVONthink Pro 2.x beta.

No more MobileMe

nomobileme.pngWe have paid for Apple’s MobileMe iPhone plan for two years now, but have decided to let our subscription expire in February.
MobileMe is a wonderful service. It’s dead simple to use and offers some exclusive features, but Julie and I find we mainly use e-mail and calendars. We already had free e-mail accounts I manage through Google Apps. Google Sync has come a long way, too, and we can now sync our calendars through Google Calendar (also part of Google Apps).
An iPhone app that I depend on is OmniFocus for iPhone and it’s usefulness depends on syncing with its desktop counterpart. Until today I used Apple’s iDisk for this service. Since that will expire in February as well I did some research and found Swissdisk, which is offering 50mb of free encrypted WebDAV space that is just perfect for empowering OmniFocus to work it’s syncing magic.
The one piece of functionality we are losing is the ability to track down your iPhone, which is extremely cool, but at $150 a year the 5-user MobileMe family plan wasn’t carrying its weight around here when you consider those existing free solutions.

One blog to rule them all

I recognized that my blog posts fell into several big categories—funny, productivity, family, writing & creativity, and design—and experimented with spinning them off into their own spaces. During that time I moved from posting infrequently on one blog I was posting infrequently on five blogs.
The end result of the experiment is that I am consolidating everything into this site; yep, the one you’re reading now, as your one-stop shop for infrequent blog posts by yours truly. Just forget about those other blogs. Thanks.
However, you may want to keep a bookmark for Stuff I read over on Tumblr. It’s a quick drop box for me to share some of the small things I find online.

The future of the library

I agree with Seth about librarians’ need to change the focus of libraries. They need to expand their vision.
The future of the library:

No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others.

(Via Seth’s Blog.)

Living on faith

The only thing certain in life is death and even that comes at uncertain times. Good people die who shouldn’t and bad people seem to dodge the slings and arrows life constantly lobs at them.
Our families have suffered great losses during the past year. It began with Julie’s grandfather on Dec. 26, 2008. All of the holidays since rang hollow as members of our family glance uneasily at his empty chair at Mawmaw’s house.
Death rang again in September when our friend Donna lost her husband, her daughter, and her brother in a collision. And then, on Christmas Day 2009, my sister-in-law died in Birmingham, Ala., while on a solo road trip to Mississippi to see her best friend. We never know when our loved ones will be gone, or when we’ll be gone for that matter, so we must live for each other and we must have faith.
Faith. Five letters. Two vowels and three consonants. It’s a short syllable, but a difficult word to comprehend. The definition of faith that comes to my mind is to believe in something without evidence. Here is what the American Heritage Dictionary has to say:

  1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
  2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
  3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance
  4. In Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will
  5. The body of dogma of a religion
  6. A set of principles or beliefs.

Survey says I’m a winner with the #2 definition, but it’s really #4 I’m here to talk about today, First, Roget’s Thesaurus provides some alternatives:

  1. Absolute certainty in the trustworthiness of another: belief, confidence, dependence, reliance, trust. See belief
  2. Mental acceptance of the truth or actuality of something: belief, credence, credit. See opinion
  3. A system of religious belief: confession, creed, denomination, persuasion, religion, sect. See religion
  4. Those who accept and practice a particular religious belief: church, communion, denomination, persuasion, sect. See religion

Faith is something I have wrestled with since I started breaking away from the church in my teens. I only returned to the church in recent years and still struggle with faith today. I probably always will. It’s extremely difficult for my rational mind to make that irrational leap of faith, but that’s exactly what I need. It’s so difficult to let go of control, but that’s exactly what I should do.
Maybe it’s not so irrational.
We need to live for each other. We fight and whine and bicker about meaningless things. I listen to the kids snapping at each other and hear me and Julie lash at each other on bad days. Lately, in the wake of all of this death, I’ve thought how the survivors will feel when one of us is gone. What if the last words we share are shared in anger. What if a door slammed because someone refuses to stop singing or because we had pasta with red sauce instead of white is the last memory you hold of someone you love.
Instead of holding onto those foul memories, we should hold onto each other instead. Instead of criticizing others, we should ask “How can I help you?” We all know that we love each other, but we need to show that love instead of assuming it.
Our family suffered much loss in 2009—it just wasn’t a good year for us—and I am eager for 2010 to be better for our family. We’re not just tired of pain and loss, we’re weary. Waves of sadness have continually washed over our families and we hope death will take a vacation so we can regroup.
Last night, Julie and I shared our first evening of the Christmas holiday without any kids in the house. It gave both of us some much-needed time to reflect on the past year. I believe that time to stop and think laid a strong foundation for me and Julie to build on in 2010. I advise you to do the same.

Julie and I are charting a course, making a plan, and pressing on, so here’s to overcoming loss, to finding new beginnings, and to a good 2010 for everyone.

Daily logs

Pen with Mont Blanc Ink BottleI kept a daily log for quite some time and then, for some reason, I stopped. I think it was a case of tool overload—too much hand-wringing about what tool was perfect for keeping up with the bric-a-brac of daily life—and rather than settling on one tool, I just stopped keeping the log.
To set the record straight, a daily log is not a daily journal. I never intend for it to be a narrative journey through my day, but a bulleted list of daily accomplishments. I used EverNote for a while, but something about it just bugs me and I’m not sure why. I may give EverNote another go.
I also really want to like Circus Ponies Notebook. I think I’ll stick to EverNote at work and Notebook at home instead of one list. If that doesn’t work for me, then I’ll use one or the other.
And yes, I know a text editor would work just as well (and maybe better). Anyway, I suppose I’ll chalk that up as one of my resolutions for 2010.

PBS | Ombudsman | Lehrer's Rules

This from PBS ombudsman Michael Getler on Jim Lehrer’s sign-off last week:
PBS | Ombudsman | Lehrer’s Rules:

One of the things that has not changed, however, is Lehrer’s unwavering approach to journalism. So, in closing that final broadcast on Dec. 4 and providing a glimpse of the forthcoming new look, Lehrer said:
“I promise you, one thing is never going to change. And that’s our mission. People often ask me if there are guidelines in our practice of what I like to call MacNeil/Lehrer journalism. Well, yes, there are. And here they are:

  • Do nothing I cannot defend.
  • Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
  • Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
  • Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am.
  • Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
  • Assume personal lives are a private matter, until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
  • Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything.
  • Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes, except on rare and monumental occasions.
  • No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
  • And, finally, I am not in the entertainment business.”
  • (Via PBS with a tip o’the hat to John Gruber over at Daring Fireball for drawing my attention to it.)

    Garlic Zoom

    Garlic Zoom

    Originally uploaded by ELBeavers

    Can you see the bulbs trembling in fear while staring despondently at the dread rotating knives of allium sativum doom inside this iron maiden custom made for garlic?!

    We’re about to get medieval on these bulbs and can’t wait to break this bad boy in.

    This was today’s impulse buy at Mia Cucina in Chattanooga, Tenn.